It’s crazy how some days it feels like my children are listening to EVERY word a person says, yet other days they don’t seem to hear a word they are told. When my children repeat something I wish they weren’t saying, I start to question where they could have heard that from. I have quickly been humbled many times though, when I realize it was something I said! Kids are such sponges, and are ALWAYS listening.
As another school year approaches and as a former teacher, I wanted to remind us all that our children are ALWAYS listening! This may seem insignificant to the school year, but it’s not. Many things can be said without the intention of an impact so let’s be mindful.
School Supply Shopping –
Yes, I know supply lists can be long and can get expensive. There also are often items that are very specific and difficult to find. BUT, the teacher has placed those items on the list for a reason – for your child to use while learning. If you decide to make negative comments about the supplies, how much money it’s costing, etc., your child may hear that their supplies are not important. Depending on what you say, it may just be subtle, but it’s not sending a positive message regarding school before school has even begun.
Back to School Night/Open House/Registration –
Regardless of what it is called, PLEASE attend or at least make an attempt to figure out a way to be there if there is a conflict. Let your child know that education is important, and he/she is important! Important enough to make the transition to a new school year go smoothly. Plus, it’s fun to show your parents where you will spend your days all year and who you’ll be with. It’s also much easier to ask questions about your child’s day when you have seen their classroom, teacher, and some classmates.
Your Child’s Teacher(s)-
Just about everyone has an opinion about teachers. It may be their own, and sometimes its formed from other people’s opinions and ideas. Regardless of your opinion, don’t let YOUR opinion affect your child’s opinion of his/her teacher. One negative statement overheard by your child can greatly effect how the school year goes for your child. Also, your child’s teacher spends ALL day EVERY day for a whole school year with your child. You don’t want to start that relationship off on the wrong foot if there isn’t a good reason for it. *Side note – If you do have a problem with the teacher, talk to them about it right away so it can (hopefully) quickly be resolved.
Some things taught in school these days are not from the traditional ways of teaching in the past. I have heard of many frustrated parents trying to help their kids with homework and don’t even understand these “new ways” of doing things themselves. If that is the case, talk to your child’s teacher (trust me – you likely won’t be the only one with the issue) instead of showing all the frustration to your child. The teacher will likely have an answer key, better explanation, etc. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your child’s teacher, there’s always Google. The only thing you DON’T want to do, is talk negatively about homework to your child. You can tell them you learned in a different way (and even show them that way too), but they are learning this way and that needs to stay in a positive light. If homework is regarded in a negative way at home, your child will likely not be interested in taking the time to do it well. The same goes for all the paperwork at the beginning of the school year. When you make your child’s education a priority, they will hopefully do the same!
The bottom line is – your attitude about school may affect your child’s attitude about school. Many times parents say things without even realizing the impact of what they are saying (myself included). Most of those times, they don’t intend to make an impact but might do so anyway. This school year, let’s continue to set our kids up for success and be mindful of our words. Kids are ALWAYS listening.